Elderly passenger who fell in SBS Transit bus dies after week-long struggle in hospital

Mr Siah Keok Tiang suffered injuries to his head and multiple fractures when the bus he was on braked hard on Sept 8, 2021. PHOTOS: SIAH HWAN LING/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - A grandfather of five, Mr Siah Keok Tiang, 68, was an independent man who loved his family deeply.

He suffered from renal failure a decade ago, but sought a healthy lifestyle so that he could be there for his grandchildren.

But on Sept 8, the elderly man was involved in an accident that left him fighting for his life.

For about a week, he drifted in and out of consciousness in the intensive care unit, as medical staff hovered around him tending to his multiple injuries.

These included a punctured lung, fractured spine and bleeding in the brain.

His family had encouraged him to keep fighting to get better so that he could return home to see his sixth grandchild, who is due to be born.

But this was not to be.

Mr Siah died on Thursday morning (Sept 16) at around 7am, after a week-long struggle that has left his family distraught.

Speaking to The Straits Times, his daughter Siah Hwan Ling, 30, said the family is still coming to terms with his death.

"He never made it home," she said.

"We've been praying so hard, hoping for a miracle. He was perfectly fine before, and now just about one week later, he's gone."

Mr Siah was on bus service 175 at about 11.50am on Sept 8, and was on his way home from the Sakyadhita-NKF Dialysis Centre in Upper Boon Keng Road.

The bus was on North Bridge Road and neared the stop at Bugis Cube, where he was going to alight, when it braked suddenly as a car purportedly cut into its lane.

Mr Siah, who was in the first seat near the front door, had just stood up when he was flung forward.

The driver immediately stopped the bus and the Singapore Civil Defence Force was called.

The police later arrested the 43-year-old car driver for careless driving and causing grievous hurt.

Mr Siah Keok Tiang (back row, centre), 68, died on Sept 16, 2021. He was a grandfather of five who loved his family deeply. PHOTO: COURTESY OF SIAH HWAN LING

Ms Siah posted an appeal on social media for witnesses to come forward.

She said she broke down when she saw her father unconscious, and realised that he could not even raise his hand.

She added that many witnesses had come forward since her post, but all of them had seen only the aftermath.

On Thursday, she described to ST how the family had struggled to visit him in hospital because of the numerous measures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Only five people could be registered, and only two people could see him each time, with a time limit of 30 minutes per day," she said.

"The doctors and nurses did their best to accommodate us, but we still struggled because of the restrictions."

Her brother, Mr Siah Peih Wee, 39, had just visited their father on Wednesday night (Sept 15), and had returned home past midnight.

But at about 4am on Thursday, he received a call from the hospital to rush down as the elder Mr Siah was in critical condition.

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The eldest son told ST that the hospital made special arrangements for him and his two siblings to see their father just before he died.

"It was at about 7am, and we were reading a Buddhist sutra verse to him, hoping for a miracle," he said.

"But just as we finished the last words of the verse, his heart stopped."

The family said the agony of how they lost their father, coupled with having had to cope with the visitor restrictions in his last moments, has taken a heavy toll on them.

The police said they are still investigating the incident.

Ms Tammy Tan, senior vice-president of corporate communications at SBS Transit, said it is very sorry to learn of Mr Siah's death, and is assisting the family.

Ms Siah said the family has since seen security camera footage of the incident.

She urged motorists to show courtesy on the roads.

"All my father wanted was to see his grandchildren grow up," she said.

"We hope motorists can show kindness on the roads, with simple gestures like giving way. We hope no one else has to go through this ever again."

Mr Siah's wake will be held at 117 Jalan Tenteram from Friday evening, and the funeral and cremation will be on Sept 22.

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